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A very sad situation of passing the buck.
 

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CA is not only exporting to the West Coast. We have gotten dogs even here in VA. After that stupid Chihuahua movie came out, they went on a breeding spree for chi's. Richmond's SPCA has gotten a couple of imports of those little dogs from CA. They need do do something about all the overbreeding going out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It turns into shelters "shopping" around for dogs that will sell. Then there is no room for local dogs that aren't the new trend. Big dogs always seem to get the short end of the stick. And always older dogs being passed over for puppies.
I know a couple shelters where older owner turn-ins are put aside while entire litters of puppies are shipped in from other shelters. I don't know if they are still doing this but they were a few years ago
 

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The shelter I use to work for has been regularly importing Chihuahuas from California for a couple of years now.

I am conflicted. I know the little dogs are being euthanized by the dozen in some of California's larger, open admission shelters (it looks like mostly in Southern California). And I know they get adopted soooo quickly here.

But...it seems to be a cash cow for the shelter. They get a ton of press when they bring a large group up, and the lines are out the door on the day the dogs go up for adoption. They charge double what any other open admission shelter int he area will charge for a small dog, and at $300 a dog the money adds up (when you consider they are bringing up 50, 75, even 100 dogs at a time). Remember, these are little dogs that can be housed 10 to a kennel run. The whole idea is to get them in, get them speutered and then get them out the door as adopted as quickly as possible. The little trembling Chihuahua plays on emotions for adopters, then they come back complaining in a month because they still can't cuddle their dog, or dress it up in the clothes they purchased (at the shelter's convenient supply store, just off the adoption lobby-in fact you have to go pay your adoption fee at the cash register in the supply store, and just like candy at the check stand in the grocery store, they pack the cash register area with a lot of crap).

These little dogs have some serious issues. The general consensus is that they are being dumped by large scale, back yard breeding-type facilities and they are a mess. They are very fearful, and have a host of health issues (skin and dental problems abound).

Meanwhile, local dogs are being euthanized for time and room. I think that is wrong. If you have gotten to the point where you don't have to euthanize any local dogs because of time and room issues, then a shelter should be free to go as far afield as they want to import adoptable dogs from other areas. But that isn't the case here. And I have a problem with that.

I understand wanting to compete with all the bottom feeder breeders on Craigslist for the pet buying dollar of interested people. And I understand wanting to get people into the habit of looking at the shelter for a pet, especially when you're working to dispel the notion that only Pit Bulls and Lab mixes are available! But, at what cost? This whole idea of importing in-demand dogs from out of area is getting so far away from the original mission statement and mandate.
Sheilah
 

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California really needs to do something about the over breeding problem it has. It is starting to take it's toll not just there but on other states now. And dogs are dying in droves as a result.
 

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I'm of the view that all shelter dogs at risk of euthanization deserve a shot at adoption. A lot of dogs don't have that chance in their local shelters. If transferring them to another area gives them a chance to live, then why not do that?

The claim that someone who wants (or can only handle) Dog X is going to adopt Dog Y because that's what's in their local shelters is absurd. A senior citizen who lives in a residential community that only allows dogs 25 pounds and under is not going to adopt an untrained adolescent 65-pound pit mix. On this board, prospective puppy people are told every day not to get more dog than they can handle. The same is equally true for shelter adopters. Not every dog is right for every person. And, unfortunately, in a lot of Northeastern cities in particular, the shelters are overwhelmingly full of pitties and pit mixes. Some of them are great dogs, but they're not great dogs for every home.

So if those homes can adopt death-row dogs from other places, and thereby save lives, I'm for it.

In my experience, the costs for these dogs are higher because an ethical and law-abiding rescue has higher costs to get them to their homes. First the dog has to be vetted: heartworm tested, fecal tested, dewormed, and probably spayed or neutered. This costs about $250 at the vet I use. Any problems that arise need to be treated as well, obviously, so that costs more. The baseline health for these dogs is typically worse on average than it is for the dogs that arrive in our city shelter system, so as a group they cost more to bring up to adoptability health-wise.

Then the dog has to be boarded in a quarantine facility for 10 to 14 days before transport. This costs about $100.

Then the dog has to be transported. Most rescues have volunteers who do the transports, but if you don't, that's another $100 to $150.

The rescue that I volunteer with loses money on almost every dog. I certainly lose money on all the dogs that I personally pull. I've never gotten one to PA for less than $500, and the adoption fees at my rescue max out at $350. Usually I end up just placing my personal fosters with friends anyhow and don't charge anything. So it's not about competing with puppy sellers, at least not in my experience. It's just about trying to give dogs a chance at homes that they'd otherwise never have gotten.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
the problem is, the shelter isn't giving dog Y a chance to get adopted by anyone. Dog Y gets brought into the shelter as an owner turn in or when its stray hold time is over. Instead of going to the adoption floor, Dog Y is euthanized so that they have space to bring in 100+ dogs that they can adopt out quickly. The shelter isn't bringing in dogs from out of state because they have zero dogs of their own. Local dogs are being denied the chance of a loving home while dogs are brought in from other areas by the truckload.
In many of these shelters/rescues, the dogs are simply loaded onto semis or vans and taken in large loads to dozens of different shelters. They are loaded straight to the adoption floor, often with public fanfare and a huge line waiting to take them home. "Help us save the sweet innocent puppies from CA" or wherever they are from. Meanwhile, local dogs aren't even getting a chance to find a loving home and family.

I can guarantee you that the dogs going to the shelter I know don't have a quarantine period. Nor is there any adoption fee on the other end. Volunteers take the shelter van, drive down to GA or another state with a surplus of cute puppies, load as many as possible into the van and drive home. When they arrive, they euthanize as many local dogs as necessary to make room for all of the puppies.
They rationalize it as saving the puppies because they can guarantee that the pups will be adopted while the older dogs might take longer to find the right home.

Meanwhile, the shelters at the beginning of the line aren't doing any checking to see where the dogs are actually going. All they care is that the dogs are out of their facility. Out of sight, out of mind. In the story posted, many of the dogs are going to even worse situations than they started in.
 

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I can see the point of shuttling around dogs to areas where they are most wanted. Here, any sort of hunting, herding (of the collie type), or retriever dog will get snapped up in a heart beat, but Shi-Shi-Poos and anything that falls outside those types languish in shelters. Now, go an hour north across the bridge where the demographic of people is dramatically different and any sort of "Status" Dog will be in high demand; purse puppies, GSDs, Weims...anything that looks like you paid a ton of money for.

I think it should almost be a practice to ship dogs to areas where they will get a better chance at adoption. Why have "Adoption Days" at your local pet store where you send out all the cute little Pit mixes when 80% of your shelter population are Pit mixes? I know, for whatever reason, Pit and Lab mixes are huge in Pittsburgh. When Baltimore lost their mind and nearly banned anything under the 'Pit Bull' umbrella, some of the Bully rescues started shipping them to Pittsburgh and they were adopted quickly and it saved the lives of probably a few hundred dogs.
 

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the problem is, the shelter isn't giving dog Y a chance to get adopted by anyone. Dog Y gets brought into the shelter as an owner turn in or when its stray hold time is over. Instead of going to the adoption floor, Dog Y is euthanized so that they have space to bring in 100+ dogs that they can adopt out quickly.

Meanwhile, the shelters at the beginning of the line aren't doing any checking to see where the dogs are actually going. All they care is that the dogs are out of their facility. Out of sight, out of mind. In the story posted, many of the dogs are going to even worse situations than they started in.
I'm not aware of any open admission shelters or city animal control facilities that are involved in the receiving end of transport networks. I don't really know anything about the West Coast rescue scene and can't speak to those, but that is not how it works in my city.

In Philadelphia, ACCT is the city animal control facility. They take all the owner surrenders and strays. They do not accept dogs from out of state.

Their most adoptable dogs are transferred to PSPCA and PAWS, two no-kill shelters in the city. Neither of these groups accepts dogs from out of state, and neither euthanizes for space. They just don't take any more ACCT dogs until they've adopted the ones they already have. These three organizations -- which are the biggest in the city and receive all governmental grants and receive funds directly or indirectly from the city -- handle the bulk of local dogs.

Then you have smaller, independent, totally volunteer-run groups (and one separate retail-affiliated private group, Oporation Ava) that do take dogs from out of state. These are not open admission. They aren't responsible for handling stray or owner surrender animals, and they don't take any animals until they've adopted out the ones they've got.

At no point anywhere is an owner-surrendered dog getting less time in a city shelter so that the city shelter can make room for a more adoptable dog brought in from out of state. That doesn't happen in Philly. These dogs are not in competition for the same spaces. They are indirectly in competition for adoptive homes, but the great majority of people who come to our rescue have looked at city shelters first and, for one reason or another, decided they can't find the right dog for their homes there.

As for the shelters sending these dogs out to rescue, some do follow up and some don't. They do the best they can, but unfortunately, the reality is that a lot of shelters in very poor parts of the country don't have the resources to do tons of follow-up, and so that can sometimes be abused. Hoarders and fake rescues are a real problem. But they're (happily) a very small minority, and they're not a problem unique to transport networks, and I don't see their existence as a reason to stop saving lives, any more than the fact that some rare adopters turn out to be animal abuses is a reason to stop adopting animals out to the public at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
no one is saying that it is a bad idea. I just think that there must be some type of plan in place - beginning shelters should be checking the references and adoption plans for any shelter or rescue that they send dogs to.

Receiving shelters need to have some plan of what to do with their own dogs. In too many cases, that plan is simply to euthanize to make room for "adoptable" dogs. At the shelter that I know, "unadoptable" means any dog that is over 6 months old or otherwise past the cute puppy stage.

I agree completely with what Shaolin says. However, that seems to be the exception rather than the norm.
 

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Mainly it's this quote from the original article:

"It would seem to me that if we've wiped out homeless small dogs in our area, we have succeeded. Now let's work on our big dogs and educate the public on how to choose a responsible breeder if they want a smaller dog. Instead, many shelters and rescues are becoming nothing more than brokers and pet stores, working on a supply and demand model."

that's really blowing my mind. Oookay, so there are more available homes for this type of dog than you have homeless dogs to give them. Therefore the logical answer is not to bring up more homeless little dogs from other areas with a surplus, but... to... convince people, many of whom can't have or don't want big dogs, that they should adopt very different dogs that they don't want instead, or else buy pets instead of adopting? While little dogs die for lack of homes right next door?

I mean, yes, it is about supply and demand. That's true. Supply of available homes in State A, supply of homeless dogs who need those homes in State B. No argument there.

But to then claim that solution is NOT to move those dogs to the homes waiting to receive them, and that the rescues losing money to save lives are "becoming nothing more than brokers and pet stores" is flat-out ridiculous and offensive.
 

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I would like to fancy some crazy idea, that, maybe, not Europe only will always follow the US issues, but United States of America might follow some progressive European tendencies to highlight moral issues. New laws in Europe obliging every dog owner to be put upon - exclude irresponsibility in all three stages: legal acquisition of a puppy, legal ownership through taxation, legal public safety ( no spoken rules and wool which everyone has heard enough yack to last a lifetime) working laws. Small dogs are in fashion? Well, well...If there wasn't any buyers - there wouldn't be any suppliers. Shelters work on demand, why shold we blame them? Before peoples' brains will overcome themselves, before our human mentality has morphed, the only way out could be - inroduction of new laws, restrictions, reinforcements concerned hated system of taxation.
 

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The open admission shelter that I mentioned in my post does not quarantine the dogs it brings up from California. Staff volunteer for the trip, so no cost there. The cargo van is owned by the shelter. They have four drivers, so they drive straight down and then straight back. The cost is limited to gas. The shelters in California either don't charge a fee at all, or they charge a nominal transfer fee.

The shelter has it's own not-for-profit vet clinic. Speuters are at cost. Dogs are available for adoption within two or three days of arriving.

There are plenty of small dogs available locally. The other open admission shelter in the this area always has a quantity of small dogs available (for half the cost, with the same amount of vetting). There are enough small dogs to go around for adopters that MUST have a small dog for whatever reason.

As an open admission shelter, the potential adopter wanting a small dog because they live in a retirement community that requires it is treated the same as the 19 year old adopter who wants a Chihuahua because Paris Hilton has one. No application. First come, first served. No home visits. And God forbid that the 19 year old not be able to walk out with the living accessory of her choice.

The locally available dogs don't have the cachet of being "extra specially rescued", as one local person put it when describing the importation of highly adoptable dogs from out of state.
Sheilah
 

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If they're not taking applications, not making any effort to screen their adopters, and just handing dogs out to whoever walks in the front door, then those are all problems distinct from transport issues. Presumably whatever local dogs are in the shelter are being handed out just as carelessly.

Failure to quarantine incoming animals and get the necessary health certifications is, or should be, a violation of state law; it certainly would be here, although I don't know what the laws are in your state.

Charging twice as much for the exact same type of dog that's available in another shelter in the same community should be a self-solving problem. My rescue (in a policy that I personally never liked) used to charge the same rates for cats that it did for dogs, even though the cats were just regular domestic shorthairs that were basically identical to the local cat population. They had to drop their rates significantly because the city-subsidized shelters will literally give their cats away for one dollar, so the rescue's cats were not getting adopted.

It is true that a lot of people are drawn to the special hard-luck stories, though. Whenever an abuse case makes the news here, the line to adopt that dog is enormous. Meanwhile other dogs of the same breed, gender, age and appearance sit unwanted in their kennels, because they don't come with a story attached.

I don't have an answer for that. I can't even say it's a bad thing that people want to show compassion toward an animal whose story grabs their hearts. I just wish it wasn't limited to the ones in the news.
 

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The open admission shelters that I have personal experience with do not use any type of application process that weeds inappropriate adopters. They have all been a first come, first served organization. Being an open admission shelter puts a lot of pressure on them to adopt to whoever shows up with money in hand, since it is difficult to defend refusing to adopt out an animal that very well could end up on a euthanasia list later in the day if the population rises above what the shelter can accommodate due to a large influx of animals. That is just the nature of an open admission shelter.

The difference between the open admission shelter that always has a supply of local small dogs, and the open admission shelter that routinely imports small dogs from shelters in California is that the local dogs have no special story attached. And the California dogs do. As I said in my earlier post, a local rescue person calls the California dogs "extra specially rescued" because of the back story.

As I said before, I have no problem with a shelter or rescue importing dogs from anywhere they can find them as long as the local dogs in need don't suffer because of it. And believe me, the imported dogs take up resources that could/should be going to local dogs first. That is wrong, as far as I am concerned.
Sheilah
 

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Well, in that case we don't disagree. I'm 100% with you that if the dogs are exactly the same in both places, then there's no need to bring them in from out of state.

But that isn't the situation here in Philly, and it's not the situation covered in the article, which was complaining that dogs not available in the local area were being brought in from other states.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
the article is complaining about many things, including that there is no vetting of adopters or the shelters/rescues picking up the dogs from other shelters.

that, in and of itself, is a huge problem. Then, again, there is the argument that it is bad, period, to buy from a breeder. Plus, the dogs being brought up for adoption are not necessarily healthy (physically or mentally)!

Sadly, for many shelters it is purely a money making scheme. They invest nothing in the dogs and charge much more than they are charging for local dogs.
 

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My friend has a GSD rescue and she brings in up to 6 GSDs a week from CA. She has a well established support network now, people are not able to foster or adopt dogs but raise money to have these dogs transported and vetted. To be honest, there just aren't many GSDs around here. She will pick up ones in area shelters or off CL. Some area shelters won't work with rescues. She is a rescue, not another kill shelter. I'm not sure what the adoption fee is. I know it cost her $300 per dog for the transport, and then any vet care and of course the food and supplies needed beyond that are more. When I fostered an 11 year old "free" off CL male GSD he was adopted for $50 (I paid more than that for his vet care but was happy to help). I really think it depends on the individual rescue/shelter.
 

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The importation of rescue dogs, especially from high disease areas like the bahamas and disaster zones like hurricane katrina, has caused the dramatic rise of disease in Colorado not commonly seen before. Heart Worm was considered VERY rare in Colorado until hurrican katrina. And we NEVER had fleas here, last summer I saw at least 10 dogs with fleas.

Personally I despise importing rescue dogs. Great way to transmit disease to other area.
 
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